330. Gladiator

Movie: Gladiator

Release Date: May 5, 2000

Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Harris.

Tag Lines: “Father of a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife and I shall have my vengeance in this life or the next.”

“What We Do In Life Echoes In Eternity.”

“A Hero Will Rise.”

“The Gladiator Who Defied An Empire.”

“Summer 2000 A.D.”

“The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an empire.”

Relevance: ‘Gladiator’ was a pretty big box office hit in the summer of 2000 and was well received by both critics and audiences. I was not one of the lucky ones to see it in theaters. I first saw it as a rental sometime after it was released on DVD later that year. After watching it, I wished I had seen it in theaters.

I instantly loved the story and was moved by the screenplay, acting and directing. But it is such a visually, beautifully shot movie, I would have loved to have seen it on the big screen. Some of the scenes and visuals were so impressive it must have made for a wonderful theatrical experience. With that said, it was still very entertaining on the “smaller screen” and did not take away from my falling in love with it.

Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix excel in ‘Gladiator.’ I was aware of both of them from past films (‘L.A. Confidential’ and ‘The Insider’ for Mr. Crowe and ‘Parenthood’ and ‘To Die For’ for Mr. Phoenix), but very impressed by their performances in this. That is true especially of Joaquin Phoenix. He is a character the viewer absolutely loves to hate. And boy, do you end up hating him.

The film was nominated for twelve Academy Awards and won five, including Best Picture in early 2001. Although it wasn’t my favorite nominated film that year (two more movies that were nominated that year will be showing up very soon on this list), it is still one that entertained and moved me enough to watch it quite a bit throughout the years.

Today’s Thoughts: I can’t mention the name of this movie around my husband without him screaming “Gladiator” a la a drunk Elizabeth Taylor at the Golden Globe awards in 2001. After which I of course always laugh. In fact every every time I read it or type it, I hear it that way as well. So thank you Elizabeth Taylor (and Jim) for that lasting memory. If you do not know what I am talking about, please go search it out on YouTube. It’s worth the watch. Afterwards, you too will always hear “Gladiator” in that way. (You’re welcome.)

Watching it today, I felt as though I was watching a really great “Game of Thrones” episode, especially that first battle scene. Different time periods, yes, but it’s almost as if the creators and directors watched this movie and took notes before filming some of that show. Kudos to Ridley Scott, who I hope one day will take home an Academy Award for Best Director. I am a fan of his work and this is the first of two movies of his on my list. His next one won’t be watched until much later this year.

I still think what I love most about ‘Gladiator’ is Joaquin Phoenix’s performance. It must be fun to play the “bad guy.” And this character is definitely one of the worst. At the same time, I can’t help but feel a little sorry for him (very little), and I think that has everything to do with his performance. He makes a monster somewhat human, a very flawed human, but human nonetheless.

Russel Crowe is quite amazing in this movie as well. He’s just a really good actor, period. This is his second of three films that appear on my list. I still think that his best acting is in ‘A Beautiful Mind’ (see 350. A Beautiful Mind), but a totally different character here that at times thrills you and at times makes you cry.

Yes, the Kleenex box made a return while watching this movie. How can you not with that scene at the end of the film “seeing” his son running toward him? Not to mention the last line of the film: “And now we are free. I will see you again, but not yet. Not yet!”

Awards: Academy Award for Best Picture (winner), Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Russell Crowe (winner), Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Janty Yates (winner), Academy Award for Best Sound, Scott Millan, Bob Beemer, Ken Weston (winner), Academy Award for Best Effects, Visual Effects, John Nelson, Neil Corbould, Tim Burke, Rob Harvey (winner), Academy Award for Best Director, Ridley Scott (nomination), Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Joaquin Phoenix (nomination), Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, David Franzoni, John Logan, William Nicholson (nomination), Academy Award for Best Cinematography, John Mathieson (nomination), Academy Award for Best Film Editing, Pietro Scalia (nomination), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score, Hans Zimmer (nomination), Academy Award for Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Arthur Max, Crispian Sallis (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Picture – Drama (winner), Golden Globe for Best Original Score, Hanz Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard (winner), Golden Globe for Best Director, Ridley Scott (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, Russell Crowe (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Joaquin Phoenix (nomination), BAFTA Award for Audience Award (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Film (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography, John Mathieson (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Production Design, Arthur Max (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Editing, Pietro Scalia (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Director, Ridley Scott (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Russell Crowe (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Joaquin Phoenix (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Oliver Reed (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay – Original, David Franzoni, John Logan, William Nicholson (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design, Janty Yates (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Sound, Ken Weston, Scott Millan, Bob Beemer, Per Hallberg (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects, John Nelson, Tim Burke, Rob Harvey, Neil Corbould (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Make Up/Hair, Paul Engelon, Graham Johnston (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Russell Crowe (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a male Actor in a Supporting Role, Joaquin Phoenix (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for best picture (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, Russell Crowe (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, Joaquin Phoenix (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Score, Hans Zimmer (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography, John Mathieson (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Production Design, Arthur Max (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Director, Ridley Scott (nomination), Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, Ridely Scott (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Production Design, Arthur Max (nomination), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor, Joaquin Phoenix (winner), National Board of Review Award for Outstanding Production Design, Arthur Max (winner), PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, David Franzoni, Branko Lustig, Douglas Wick (winner).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, fuboTV, DVD Availability.

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